Vail Christian wins third straight state dance title |

Vail Christian wins third straight state dance title

The Vail Christian High School Saints dance team performs in the state championships. The Saints won their third straight state title. On the floor are, from left, Emma Cerovich, Mackenzie Smith, Generose Angarola, Amanda Lingle, Rachel Keith, Raquel walder, Faye Hargreaves, Elizabeth Angarola, Samantha Hancock,Larkin Smith,Sophia Branden.

State Champion Saints

Samantha Hancock, Amanda Lingle, Rachel Keith, Raquel Walder,Faye Hargreaves,Generose Angarola, Emma Cerovich, Sophia Branden, Jessica Richie, Sarah Sweet, Hope Gonzales

EAGLE COUNTY — Go ahead and dust off the 150-point bold type and let the headline shout, “dancing dynasty.”

Vail Christian High School’s dance team won its third straight state championship.

Senior Elizabeth Angarola has been on the Saints dance team for four years and held all three of those state title trophies.

“Three state championships in a row takes perseverance, determination and, most importantly, faith,” Angarola said. “After months of tedious practice, pump-up music and daily prayer, we went to compete for the title. After we had done all we could do to prepare ourselves physically, we placed our dance in the hands of the Lord and took the title for the third year with honor.”

Mediocrity is easy. Excellence takes work, says coach Patti Carlson.

“They are an amazing group of girls. They work hard and help and encourage each other, all for the glory of God. I am a very proud coach,” Carlson said.


Dance is a sport, Carlson said, and you have to work at it if you want to win. In competition you have winners and losers, and this life lesson: Winners find a way to be successful; losers don’t.

They practiced every day for two hours — even more than that as state got closer.

At the state tournament, their entire performance lasted about two and a half minutes.

Any mistake can cost you your title shot, and anyone can make one.

No one did.

At the state championships, they performed it perfectly.

“After all that practice over all those months, it comes down to that one performance,” Carlson said.

Their season runs from August to March, and they perform for football, basketball and volleyball games, during their own tournaments through the school year and just about any other time someone needs a halftime show.

All that togetherness creates, well … togetherness.

A few year back, Carlson’s two older daughters were on the dance team, and it was in need of a coach. So she stepped up.

“It’s a great group, and I had wonderful help,” Carlson said.

She didn’t have to look far for that help. Caitlin Mutter (Vail Christian 2008) and Aili Thomas (Battle Mountain 2010) are the other coaches.

Carlson’s two older daughters are now in college, but their younger sister will join the team next year.

In fact, of this year’s squad of 15 dancers, they have two sets of sisters, Larkin and Mackenzie Smith, and Elizabeth and Generose Angarola.

The thing is, about half of the team had no idea what it was like to even be in a state championship competition, let alone win one. Seven of those 15 members are rookies.

And not only do the 15 win state dance championships with remarkable regularity, they’re also Vail Christian’s cheerleaders.

“In a small school you do it all,” Carlson said.

Carlson’s daughter Caroline is a 2010 Vail Christian graduate who’s now in college. In her spare time in the past three years, she has done the choreography. And yes, you connected the dots correctly; Caroline choreographed all three state titles.

It was a Vail Christian kind of day at the state championships. Vail Christian’s Sarah Sweet even opened the event by singing the national anthem.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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